The Last Friend

The Last Friend Cover

The Last Friend

By Tahar Ben Jelloun; Kevin Michel Cape (Translator); Hazel Rowley (Translator)

New Press, Hardcover, 9781595580085, 186pp.

Publication Date: February 1, 2006


"The Last Friend," the new novel from internationally acclaimed author Tahar Ben Jelloun, winner of the 2004 International Dublin/IMPAC award, is a "Rashamon"-like tale of friendship and betrayal set in twentieth century Tangier. Written in Ben Jelloun's inimitable and powerfully direct style, the novel explores the twists and turns of an intense thirty-year friendship between two young men struggling to find their identities and sexual fulfillment in Morocco in the late 1950s, a complex and contradictory society both modern and archaic.

From their carefree university days through their brutal imprisonment and ultimate release, the two rely on each other for physical and psychological survival, forging bonds not easily broken. Each narrator tells his version of the story, painting a vivid portrait of life lived within and in opposition to the moral strictures of North Africa.

Set against a backdrop of repression and disillusionment, "The Last Friend" is a tale of loss of innocence and a nation's coming of age.

About the Author
Tahar Ben Jelloun, poet, novelist and professor, was born in Fez, Morocco in 1944. He has lived and worked in France since 1971. Winner of the Prix Goncourt in 1987, he received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2004. Author of numerous works of fiction, poetry, and critique, he writes regularly for diverse journals and newspapers, including Le Monde.

Hazel Rowley (1951-2011) was born in London and educated in England and Australia. She moved to the United States in the late 1990 s and lived in New York City. She was the author of four critically acclaimed biographies. "Christina Stead: A Biography" was a "New York Times" Best Book, and "Richard Wright: The Life and Times" was a "Washington Post" Best Book. "Tete-a-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre" has been translated into twelve languages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux published "Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage" in 2010. Rowley was the recipient of fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation.